The Community Reinvestment Program (CRP) seeks to force 36,000 vulnerable Illinois seniors into a precariously designed patchwork of untested and unreliable home care services. The CRP threatens seniors’ autonomy and wellbeing while undermining the immense value of homemaking and personal care providers. There are strong reasons the proposed CRP should not move forward:
- It has been rejected by the General Assembly. The recently passed bipartisan budget forbids the use of Community Care Program funding for any program created solely by administrative rulemaking – i.e., the CRP.[i]
- It should not pass JCAR review criteria. From the fact that the General Assembly previously rejected the CRP to the Department on Aging’s attempts to give itself vast amounts of undefined discretion, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) should find numerous flaws in the proposed rulemaking under its standard review criteria.[ii] Failing just one of these criteria subjects the rule to a more rigorous set of criteria that should prohibit the filing of the rule altogether.[iii]
- Evidence basis is lacking. The Department on Aging has claimed without evidence that the CRP would save taxpayer dollars and benefit seniors. Despite claims that the CRP will cut $120 million from senior home care is just its first year, the Department has avoided specifics on how the cuts would be made while still supporting seniors living independently in their communities. And, contrary to the Department on Aging’s claims, the CRP remains untested. No senior or service provider could reasonably expect a smooth rollout, much less consistently reliable service delivery and internal processes.
- Massive cuts to services seniors rely on are just wrong. The CRP represents an average cut of 31% in services for seniors. These would be subpar services that could be reduced or ceased at a moment’s notice if a vendor decided to terminate its contract or agreement, if the state did not provide adequate funding, or if the Department arbitrarily and capriciously decided to impose cuts. Stricter eligibility requirements would create a gap in which many seniors will be too “wealthy” for IDOA home care, but too poor to afford privately paid home care services. Many seniors would be placed at risk of institutionalization.
Older Illinoisans deserve good quality home care from trustworthy, tested providers and systems. We urge the Department on Aging to partake in ongoing, meaningful collaboration with all stakeholders to tackle issues resulting from the increasing demand of Community Care Program services. As a first step, IDOA must withdraw its proposed CRP rule.
[i] Public Act 100-0021, formerly SB 6
[ii] The House and Senate passed HB 1414 and HB 238, respectively, which essentially prohibit the establishment of the CRP or the separation of services for Medicaid and Medicaid-ineligible seniors.
[iii] By evaluating the proposed rule using criteria in 1 IAC 220.900, there are numerous “substantive” and “proprietary” issues that trigger the need to also evaluate the rule in accordance with 1 IAC 220.950, where the rule fails to pass basic standards.